You are reading the very first installment of Peltier’s Product Digest!
In this occasional series, I will be sharing interesting articles I’ve found related to product management and its related disciplines. I’ll be adding my own analysis, insight and critique on the industry, on practices described in other sources, as well as occasionally on software products.
Starting with Digest #2, this will be an email-only publication. Please sign up on the mailing list today so that you don’t miss any!
As just a taste of what’s to come, here’s the first edition….
User Experience (UX) is the discipline responsible for delivering an optimal experience to the user of a product or service.
For decades, as Alan Cooper wrote in his seminal work The Inmates are Running the Asylum, we’ve endured functional but unappealing software products (especially in the enterprise) because we’ve allowed software engineers to design the experience.
Product management professionals are always looking for a way to get to market faster. One common-sense way to do this is to build less prior to market launch. So what’s the least you can possibly build?
What is Interaction Design?
Smartphone screens are small. Very small.
Because they’re small, there’s no room for unnecessary information. For this reason, interaction design–the design of exactly what is necessary for a user to flow through the system to accomplish a goal–is of primary importance in mobile. Because many mobile consumer applications also have web components, the discipline has also bled over to the consumer web.
Recently I came across this video, showing a Lean UX innovation team from Nordstrom using personas and user flow analysis to create a new consumer facing app in one week. They did this while co-locating with customers in a store. What a great approach!
“Growth Hacking” is just advanced Product Management
The phrase “growth hacking” is getting a lot of press in the startup community, including this recent post “What is Growth Hacking really?” by Josh Elman. The more I study the meaning of the term, the more convinced I am that growth hacking is a new role for what product management should already be doing. Product management has become a misunderstood role in many startups, where it is often miscast as a cross between a manager of the software development team and a traditional requirements analyst. If product management were achieving its own objectives, the “growth hacking” would already be happening.
A valuable reminder was posted by Martin at Mind the Product today about focusing product management attention on the problem space, rather than the solution space:
At a ProductTank last year one question from the audience made me want to jump up on stage and answer it myself – “where’s the innovation and creativity go if product managers are defining all the products?”. Stop, I wanted to shout, you’re doing it wrong….Product managers should not focus on designing solutions – they should focus on defining and prioritising problems.
At ProductCamp Atlanta 5, I co-presented a town hall session with Kevin O’Malley about the use of personas in Design and Strategy. Our assertion is that a persona effort is a wise use of a product manager’s time, because it can lead to both a better-designed product and a better-aligned marketing effort, which should lead to better results.